Tadeu Andre is a rarity in an image-saturated world

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Winds of change

Much is speculated about what constitutes ‘student life’ – about what sets this age of a person’s life as a golden time. I do not have many answers for that but I can acknowledge a facet of what makes being immersed in student communities and endeavours truly great.

And that is their art. The student voice. All across the world, across history, the youth have always found themselves in a unique position to challenge the world as it is known. One only need follow what has been occurring within the student communities of this country in the last couple of months to understand what I mean.

The next series of articles that i will pen on the Student Times will feature student photographers, illustrators and artists from around South Africa as they capture the world around in them in their chosen mediums.

Tadeu Andre will be our first featured photographer. Andre’s work is primarily shown on Instagram and Facebook. His photos first caught my eye in the way that they captured people and their surroundings. Andre’s framing and subject matter linger in your mind long after your thumb has scrolled on – a rarity in an image-saturated world.

An Ennerdale store owner loads stock from his store into a truck after protesting residents attempted to break into and loot the store he and other foreign nationals run. 09 May 2017

In an interview with Andre I was able to ask about all the components of his work that fascinated me:

HR: Where are you studying and where can readers find you?

TA: I am currently studying photojournalism and documentary photography at the Market Photo Workshop in Johannesburg. People can also find me on Instagram: @tadeu_andre_ and on Facebook: Tadeu Andre.

HR: How did you get into taking photographs?

TA: Growing up I was always around either cameras or photographs. I had two uncles who were very talented photographers and eventually the bug caught me too. I started off taking animal photos on family holidays to places like Kruger National Park. As a child, I read a lot of National Geographic and when I started making images I was always trying to recreate the ones I had seen in these magazines which presented a fun challenge. I’m sure if I dug some of those pictures up now we would see they were probably very far from National Geographic quality.

A woman takes a moment to say farewell to the apartheid struggle icon Ahmed Kathrada Kathrada who passed after a surgery which resulted in him contracting Pneumonia. 29 March 2017

HR: What attracts your eye out in the world? What do you find yourself drawn to photographing the most?

TA: It’s hard for me to pinpoint what it is that attracts my eye when I’m looking to make a photo, I live in such a visually rich city and every day there’s something new to photograph however I think the linking factor in everything that I photograph is that I’m always looking for a moment of poetry between all the elements in my frame.

HR: When you set out to take a photo what are you hoping to achieve with the image?

TA: I’m always thinking about photos, no matter where I am or what I’m doing. I constantly think about what around me could make a good frame. Despite the clumsiness my friends and family see from me on  a daily basis at home I always try and stay cognizant of what is happening around me and this helps me to look at things around me and try pick out what I want to illustrate in the images I make.

Zozo’s 1 room burglar.” – Matholesville.

HR: What affect do you think your art has had on your perspective on the world?

TA: I wouldn’t say my art has made much of an influence on my perspective of the world but rather my perspective of the world has influenced my work and how I want to portray the world through it. If anything, my work has allowed me to become more aware of other perspectives and I let these feed into my own world view. I think there is a real danger in being a person who only views the world from their one perspective and doesn’t question themselves from time to time.

HR: When you set out to take a photo what are you hoping to achieve with the image?

TA: I try not to set out with a particular image that I would like to come back with in mind on most shoots I do simply because I find I can become so centered around finding that image that I miss out on much better images. Recently my approach has shifted to one of having an idea of what my general goal is on a shoot but other than that I allow myself to have space to move about and find images or let them come to me.

HR: What do you look for in a photograph? What subject matter compels you most?

TA: The interaction between people and the environment that surrounds them is what I find myself most drawn to when photographing. I always try and find an image which encapsulates the essence of a moment, something which doesn’t need words to explain it.

A resident of Matholesville in Roodeport voices her anger during a protest where residents blockaded streets to draw attention to the lack of visible policing in the settlement. 12 May 2017

HR: Editing, to do or not to do?

TB:  I  do believe in editing images however I feel that editing should simply be done to highlight the aspects of an image that make it stand out. Editing shouldn’t be used as a tool to make an image something that it isn’t, if a photo is not a strong image then no amount of editing can redeem it.

HR: What would you consider your favourite of your own photographs?

TA: My favourite image on my Instagram at this moment is one I titled ‘winds of change.’ Out of all of my Instagram images I find myself looking at this one over and over, I feel it captured that poetry I spoke of earlier perfectly with every person in the image apparently moving in sync with one and other.

Take the time to observe the artistry present on this photographer’s Instagram page in particular and look out for the next article on a student illustrator!